August 13, 2001

U.S. Overseas Military Families Rein In Regulatory Efforts

For several months, Home School Legal Defense Association member families have been alerting us to a significant movement towards regulating home schoolers in overseas military. HSLDA is pleased to report substantial progress in slowing this bureaucratic "steam roller."

We have been working with the White House, the House Armed Services Committee, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), and individual home schoolers attending "Home School Focus Groups" to put the brakes on the military's efforts toward regulating home schoolers.

Our DoDEA contact recently verified that Michael Perez (Director of Education for American Military Personnel in Europe) was not authorized to pursue these "Home School Focus Groups" in an attempt to regulate home schoolers. Furthermore, Perez has been ordered "to cease and desist" his efforts to organize such focus groups or to collect data on home schoolers. In addition, the September "Home School Task Force" meeting, which would have advanced these regulatory efforts, has been cancelled.

DoDEA Director Joseph Tafoya, issued this statement:

At this time there are no plans for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to hold a Home School Task Force meeting. On June 7, 2001, the Dependents' Education Council (DEC) members tabled proposed plans to look into the possible revision of our home school policy. It is unfortunate that remarks were made prematurely in Heidelberg about a possible task force."

DoDEA admitted that it has felt pressure from Congress, the White House, and home schoolers to abandon its investigation.

In April, God provided a unique opportunity to bring this matter to the attention of White House officials. At an amusement park, President Bush's senior policy advisor spotted seven children wearing Bush t-shirts. He introduced himself to their mother, Tracy, who happened to be HSLDA Senior Counsel Chris Klicka's wife, and invited the family to meet the president and his wife at the White House.

At a later meeting with Home School Legal Defense Association General Counsel Michael Farris and other leaders, President Bush remembered this incident and said he "wanted to do more for home schoolers." This opened the door for HSLDA to highlight the military's dangerous move toward regulation of home schoolers and to gain the White House's help. God works in mysterious ways!

Although stopping Home School Focus Groups is a major breakthrough, the battle has not yet been won. One of the assistant secretaries of defense is holding a closed meeting with select DoDEA officials to go back to the "drawing board" on this issue. He will determine if there is any need to alter the military policy regarding home schooling. HSLDA has already communicated our opposition to any change, and upon our request, a key member of the House Armed Services Committee interceded with a letter to the secretary. Two White House staff members are continuing to work with HSLDA on the issue. In addition, members of Congress have assured us that no amendment to regulate home schoolers will pass committee.

Please continue to pray that this attempt to regulate home schoolers in the military will finally be brought to an end.